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City of London Livery Companies' Commission: Report and Appendix, Volume 4 online

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obvious —

1. That the primary intention of Thomas Howell was to
benefit his own kinsfolk.

2. That the benefit intended by the Testator was purely

3. That even if the kin of the Testator were not members
of the Established Church, they would have been entitled
to the benefit of the Charity, and there is no exclusion of
other persons from the benefit of the Charity on the
ground of their particular religious belief. It was a Charity
open to Dissenters.

4. That whatever locality could be named to which the
Charity could be referred, it was the county of Monmouth.

5. That the Bishop of the diocese of Llandaff is is no
manner named either in the will of the Testator, nor in

Bb 2

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orders of the Court of Chancery, as havinjf any title to
administer the funds of the Charity, or to superintend their
distribution, though in practice the Drapers' Company, for
a lonpr series of years previous to the year 1838, paid into
the hands of the Bishop of LlandafP for the time being the
sum of 84/. a year for the purposes of the Charity.

On the 4th of March 1851 the Master of the Court to
wUom the cause stood referred reported, among other
matters, that the income of the Charity property, exclusive
of interest accumulating on the income which was paid
during the litigation, was 2,138/. 135., and that it was fit
there should be an extension of the objects and uses of the
Charity. On the 4th March 1852 an order was made in
the cause, ordering that an application should be made to
Parliament by the Attorney- General for an Act to enable
the Court of Chancery to extend the said Charity to the
establishment, maintenance, and benefit of schools in
Wales /or the instruction of girls, and for the maintaining,
clothing, and providing portions for the orphan inmates
educated in the schools so to be established, and keeping
up the establishment of such schools in such manner as
the Court should think fit. It also sanctioned the purchase
by the Drapers* Company of, a house in Throgmorton
Street, part of the Estates of the Charity.

In pursuance of this direction, a Bill was brought into
Parliament, and the Act of the 15th and 16th Victoria,
ch. 14, was passed, namely, " An Act for the regulation
** and management of the Charity founded by Thomas
" Howell, on or about the year 1540, and for other
** purposes."*

The first section of the Act empowers the Company to
purchase No. 29, Throgmorton Street, discharged for the
charitable trust to which it was subject.

The other sections of the Act are as follow : —

"II. That it shall be lawful for the Court of Chancery
to extend the said Charity to the estabUshment, mainte-
nance, and benefit of schools in Wales for the instruction
of girls, and the maintaining, clothing, and providing
portions for the orphan inmates educated in the schools to
be so established, and the keeping up the establishment
for such schools, in such manner and subject to such pro-
visions and regulations as the said Court shall from time
to time order or direct, and from time to time make and
give such decrees, orders, or directions in relation to the
Charity and the premises as shall be requisite or proper,
having regard to the extension hereby authorised as
aforesaid ; provided, that for the purposes of this Act the
whole of the Diocese of Llandaff shall be deemed to be in
Wales ; provided also, that in ])reparing such schemes pre-
ference shall be given to the diocese of Llandaff , both as to
the priority and size of the foundations to be established
and maintained under the authority of this Act ; and that
lioi more than one school shall be established or maintained
from the proceeds of the said Charity beyond the present
limits of that Diocese.

** III. That if any orphan maiden who shall be certified
by the Bishop of Llandaff to he of the blood of the said
Thomas Howell shall apply to be admitted into any of the
schools established or maintained under the authority of
this Act, such person shall be preferred to all others; and

• Tho Court of Chnnc<»i7 dot's not assume to interfere with Parlia-
uicnt, and both in the llousc of lx)rds and in the House of Commons
there is uncontrolled power to chiKik the mischief of any scheme which
mny bo embo<li(d in a bill bi'frjrc Parliament. As regards the declara-
tion of the Court of Chancery in respect of trusts. Lord Cott< nham
(Chancellor) said, in the case of The Attorney-General v. the Iron-
mongers' Company (2 " Mylne and Keen's Eeports," p. 583, a.d. 18 it) —
" As for a reference to the Master to approve of a Scheme for an Act of
" Parliament, I do not profess to understand how tlrnt alters tho
" import of the declaration. His Honour the Master of the Rolls
•* declares that at present the Court has no jurisdiction, and desires a
" bill to ha presentt^l to Parliament for the piirpoj'C of obtaining
*' powers which he considers the Court not now to possess. It would
•* l)e hard to conceive a more complete denial of the Court's jurisdic-
" tion than this course : the meaning of it is plain— tliat a-s the law
•* now stands, the Court has no jurisdiction to apply the fund except
" in redemption of slaves, and will never Irnvc any such jurisdiction
" until the law is altered. There is no foundation for tliat proposition,
** nor has this Court anythina: to do with directing bills to he brought
** infer tho purpose of extending its power to objects of bonntv not
" named in the will, nor in the Testator's contemplation." Every
member of either House of Parliament who knew of this bill relating to
Howell's Charity .when pending, and all the mischief it contained, and
permitted it to pass into al aw unopposed, is responsible for it. The
bishops in the House of Lords were silent on the occasion when
H'>weirs Charity Act pissed, and they probably habitually set the
example of tho silence referred to in the *' Letter of the Right Hon.
\\. E. Gladstone, M.P. for the University of Oxford," dated February 2!>,
1860, who thus complained that the clergy are not flnanoial reformers :
" I cannot say (he states) 1 have observed, on their (the clergy's) part,
" a general desire to check (public) expenditure, though undoubtedly
'• no class feel mor<' severely the pressure of taxation which it causes.**
This letter was addressed by Mr. Gladstone to a Welsh clergyman.
Tho wish of Mr. Gladstone evidently is, that the clergy should renion-
strato against any neeflless or mischievous expenditure of public
money ; and public money, be it remerabennl, includes ('hnrch and
Cliarity property. He does not a^k for non-interference. If the
bishops, for example, see a great Charity job in the House of Lords, it
is their duty to pounce on it and to destroy it, or to become remonstrant

that every orphan inmate of any of the said schools who
shall have been duly certified to be of the blood of the said
Thomas Howell shaU, after leaving such school and being
of unblemished character, be entitled on her marriage to a
marriage portion of two hundred pounds out of tiie fundi
of the Charity; and that the Governor may advance a
portion of such sum for her benefit in the meantime.

"IV. That the Bishop of the Diocese in which anjr of
the said schools shall be established shall be ex officio a
Governor of such school, and shall, when present at a
meeting of the Governors of such school, be chairman

" V. That it shall be lawful for the said Company, their
successors and assigns, by and under the order and direc-
tion of the said Court of Chancery, to purchase and hold
such pieces of" ground as sites for the schools to be esta-
blished as aforesaid, and the buildings and appurtenances to
be attached thereto, as shall be approved of by the said
Court ; and that such pieces of ground, when so purchased,
shall be conveyed unto or otherwise vested in the said
Company, their successors and assigns, upon trust for the
said Charity, in such manner as the said Court of Chancery
shall order or direct.

" VI. That it shall be lawful for the said Company, their
successors and assigns, from time to time, with the sanction
and approbation of the said Court of Chancery, to grant
and contract for the grant of any building, impronng, or
other leases for any term or number of years of all or any
part of the lands, estates, and property for the time being
belonging to or held in trust for the said Charity, and also
to sell and convey or exchange and contract for the sale
and conveyance or exchange of all or any part of the same
lands, estates, and property, for such rents, at such prices,
upon such terms and conditions, and with • and subject to
such powers and provisions, and in sucli manner respec-
tively as the said Court of Chancery shall from time to
time, by its order, authorise or direct, and for the purposes
aforesaid, or any of them, and also for the improvement
or better management of the said Charity estates, or any of
them, to make or execute all or any such deeds, leases, and
conveyances, and accept all or any such surrenders, and to
make and enter into all such contracts and arrangements,
and do all such acts, matters, and things whatsoever, as the
said Court of Chancery shall in manner aforesaid authorise
or direct.

"VII. That it shall be lawful for the said Company,
their successors and assigns, from time to time, with the
sanction and approbation of the Court of Chancery, to lay
out and invest the surplus rents and profits and income of
the Charity estates and property, and all or any monies
arising from any sale or exchange of the said Charity
estates and property, or any part thereof, and all or any
other monies for the time being belonging to the Charity,
in the purchase of lands or hereditaments, or Government
or real securities ; and that from time to time, when nd an
often as any such purchase or investment shall be made as
aforesaid, the lands and securities respectively so to bo
purchased or obtained shall be conveyed and transferred
unto or otherwise vested in the said Company, their
successors and assigns, upon trust for the benefit of the
said Charity, as the Court of Chancery may from time to
time direct.

" VIII. That all the costs, charges, and expenses incrces of a semi-civilised people are
•* most likely to be lavished." If so, semi-civilisation is the governing
power of many charities. "

parent at least, but not necessarily both. Marriage por-
tions will be given to orphans educated in this school to
the amount of 200/. in cases where the girl is descended
from the Founder, and 100/. in other cases.

** I have only to add tbat I have been appointed one of
the Governors of this Institution, and shall have much
pleasure in inquiring into the case of any girl who may be
desirous of becoming a candidate. Those who are natives
of this diocese will, 1 believe, have a preference over others.
And I am inclined to think that the class of families from
which candidates are most likely to be accepted are those
of persons, who were in business^ or offices, or farms, and
who, if they had lived, would have been able to give their
children a superior education, which, in consequence of the
parent's death, they will lose."

The provision which leaves the access of a Dissenter to
the Institution open can only be nominal. There is no
Dissenter among the Governors, though the Governors
say a Dissenter may be admissible. In fact, any orphan
of tender years, for example, the child of a Baptist, if
kindly treated could hardly hesitate to join the congrega-

fation of the majority of its companions. Even the little
ew Mortara, kidnapped, gipsy fashion, with the sanction of
Pio Nono, if treated with care and kindness would not fail
when at years of discretion to lecture his own father on his
belief, even though no special means, beyond the selection
of his companions, were taken to anticipate such conduct.

Originally the Charity had no exclusive character ; now
it is, practically, a Charity for Religious ' Education, under
the superintendence of the Bishop of Llandaff. It is not
to be presumed, whatever the words used may express —
and the extent of dissent in Wales fi'om the Established
Church explains why they have been used at all — ^that the
Bishop of 'Llandaff, the Dean of Llandaff, or the other
Governors wUl do otherwise than act in their recommen-
dations under the sincere conviction of their own belief,
and keep the new estabhshments to promote that religious
education which the chaplain is appointed to superintend.
The very character, system, and scheme of the new Insti-
tution makes this not merely probable but unavoidable.
It is impossible there can be several conflicting religious
dogmas preserved in the minds of young girls constantly
living under the same roof, and no such expectation was '
formed when, by the fourth section of the Act of Parlia-
ment, the Bishop of Llandaff for the time being was con-
stituted head of the governing body. Not those who act
within the scheme, but those who have framed it in so
narrow a spirit as the teaching of a few girls in a magnifi-
cent convent, are to be condemned, if exclusiveness is
complained of.

The Diocese of Llandaff may be described to be a diocese
abounding in female orphans. How often is the wailing
of female voices heard, and the sad spectacle repeated when,
through ignorance, folly, negligence, or accident, the lives
of many colliers are suddenly destroyed! Nowhere are
schools for the education of females more needed. Many
are the female orphans to teach, and many are the girls
who desure and need instruction who have no schools to
which they can resort, but they are not of the class of
orphan maidens who are to be taught the French language
at Llandaff.

It is an object of the greatest public importance that in
the mining districts there should be girls schools. It is
the mother who must chiefly teach ^1 children in their
own homes — she it is who purchases for her household,
and who usually regulates all domestic arrangements. If
the father dies it is the widow upon whom all the ikmily
depend ; if the daughters go into ser\ace their success is
connected with their early instruction, and if they remain
at home their safety and character are sustained through
the training they receive. It is through a really efladent
and improved system of education of the poorer classes
that the vices sought to be dealt with by institutions,
now so popular with magistrates, for the moral training of
adults, must be checked. Would that we could say for
ourselves what Miss Bremer said of the efforts in favour
of popular instruction in America — " The hope of the
" New W^orld is not to reform so much through prisons as
" through schools, and still more through Homes; when all
*' homes become that which they ought to be, and that
*' which many already are^ the great reformatory work will
" be done.*' Let the daughters and sisters of the working
men learn to love cleanliness, neatness, and the being
taught in schoolrooms, and the wives and mothers of the
men will become the best teachers of virtue.

Every effort to dc good, however controlled, is to be
commended, hut that which is to be condemned is the
preference of little, very limited, or minute objects, when
the power to do great ^ood is unconditionally possessed.
When it was said that girls' schools were to be established*
out of the funds of Howell's Charity, it was presumed that

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what was designed really was the establishment of schools
for girls — such institutions as are generally understood to
be " schools." The accumulated funds of the Charity
ought, in this year, from the date of the filing of the
Information in 1838 — if these gigantic and costly Ijuildings
had not been raised — to have been upwards of 40,00()/.,
exclusive of interest on the accumulating funds ; and, in
addition, the annual income should be upwards of 2,000/.
a year — there ought also to be an annual income from the
purchase money paid for the very valuable land on which
the Drapers' liall stands, and the garden of the same,
purchased by the Company of the Charity under the Act
of Parliament of 1846 — and which property was worth far
more than 120/1 a year (an/e, p. 18). The purchase money
paid to the Charity was distinctly capital, and so ought
the accumulated fiinds to have been treated. With these
magnificent means — which ought to have produced at least
3,500/. a year — some thirty or forty " Howell's schools "
might have been established throughout the diocese, and
if the teaching in them had been such as in the schools of
William Ellis, of London, they would have been u source
of unbounded happiness in a few years to thousands of
persons. The annual income was suflBcient to have
allowed the schoolmistresses of such schools not the
meagre payment that is given to a housekeeper, but hand-
some and suflBcient salaries, equal to reward the proper
and high qualifications which the mistresses of schools
ought to possess. Had such a design been acted on, a
vast multitude of women throughout Glamorganshire and
Monmouthshire would, in a short interval of time, have
been preserved from the wretchedness which is the lot of

What have we now P It is hardly possible to refrain
^m expressions of deep indignation at the mantfer in
which the Charity funds have been disposed of. The Act
of Parliament provides that Schools shall be established
in the Diocese of LlandafP. This Act has been interpreted
to mean the grand and gigantic building which towers on
the heights of Llandaff. The word "schools" implies
that many persons will be taught in more than one school.
The institution at LlandafP is the only school in the Diocese
of UandafP, in which Diocese " schools " are directed to be
estabhshed, and it is open to a very limited number of
girls. The expression, also, in the Act that only one
school shall be estabUshed out of the limits of the diocese,
has been interpreted to mean the establishment of a similar
gigantic and^ costly building in North Wales to that at
Llandaff, the'maintenance of which must exhaust half the
remaining funds of the Charity. A division of the income
is practically made when no division could have been in-
tended ; and the express words of the Act of Parliament
appear to have been mterpreted so as to sanction the most
irrational conclusions, and the most reckless waste of the
Charily funds. There is an excuse, in part, for what has
been done by the use of the word " inmates " in the Act,
but the censure that is expressed may be extended to the
scheme which was made tne foundation of the Act, as well
as to the scheme which is said to give effect to the intention
of the Act of Parliament. A title in the county of Mon-
mouth to participate in the Charity was recognised in the
Act of Parliament relating to this Charity, the income of
which, as before stated, should have amounted to 3,600/.
a year at the least ; and what is the amount of benefit
obtained? — The misappropriation of the funds has been

There is a school in the county of Glamorgan which is
absolutely necessary for the education of a certain class of
orphans. In the days of Howell the teaching of deaf and
dumb children to read and write, and to become intelligent
and instructed, was not thought to be practicable. Happily
it is now otherwise. As such persons, however, are ti) be
found — one here, and another there — and are dispersed in
distant places, and as a is needed in order
to possess the capacity to be their teachers, it is necessary
sucn children should be coUected round a teacher in some
one place which must, in most instances, be necessarily
distant from their own homes. A single institution for
such children exists in the Principality of Wales, and it is
to be regretted that it is very insufficiently supported by
voluntary subscriptions. It is established at Swansea ;
but it also happens that Swansea, though a town in Gla-
morganshire, IS beyond the present limits of the Diocese of
Llandaff — and it is to the present limits of the diocese that
the •* schools ** of Howell's Charity are confined — with the
exception of one school, which may be beyond such limits.
Here, then, was the one school, which should have been
the exceptional one, and to which a portion of the funds of
the Charily might have been with pecuhar propriety appro-
priated. The mental condition of mute chilaren who are
permitted to remain uneducated it is terrible to contem-
plate. Would that a merciful remembrance of them could

have influenced those by whom the new scheme of this
Charity was framed.

No obiection whatever could oe expressed to the diver-
sion of the funds of the original Charity to the establish-
ment of schools for the teaching of girls. The original
object of the Charity was to grant marriage portions to the
fenaale kin of the Testator, and failing them, to other
maidens. There was no directioh given by the Testator to
train up his kin to entitle them to receive the money, and ^
in the will there were no designated persons, even among
his next of kin, who could in preference the one to the
other claim the fund. In the course of time the known
members of the family of Howell have disappeared, and the
Act of Parhament and the proceedings in Chancery indicate
an entire forgetfulness of their home having been in Mon-

The benefit the Testator intended to give under his will
was not to provide marriage portions for any unmarried
orphan girls not related to him, but for some femade
orphans not of his kin, in such years when orphans of his
own kin might not claim or accept the marriage portion
provided for them. The substitutes were not the primary
objects of his Charity. His own kin, however, have, in the
lapse of years, passed out of sight. It is a mere sham, in
the third section of the Act of Parliament, to refer to them.
It is known to be beyond the bounds of human probabihty,
or almost possibility, that any person could legally, or pre-
sumably, prove his relationship to the Testator. There are
no ancient registers to refer to, no documents connected
with the descent of land nor the testimony of wills, by
which any connection of blood with his family can be
establishea. Those who inserted the third section in the
Act knew it to be a sham, though a good cloak for a new
abuse. The 84/., though paid on the receipt of the Bishops
of Llandaff, as stated in the answer to the Bill of Chancery
(ante, p. 17), was not paid to persons who, even as heirs
general of Noah, and under the title of a ** Welsh Pedigree,"
pretended to be of the family of the Testator, though this
might have been their best title, if they had set up the pre-
tence of family consanguinity. The money was paia to
very worthy recipients of it, but not to persons who could
prove any claim to it. One-fourth of it was generally
nanded over to the head of a very distinguished femily in
Monmouthshire, and was well disposed of. Any proof of
relationship, directly or indirectly, of any family to that of
the Testator is utterly lost.

The chief object of the Charity had therefore failed. As,
however, a charity is defined to be "a general public use,'*
and the word " public " to mean *' a pur)>o8e which, what-
" ever it may be, is not the personal use and enjoyment of
" any assignable individual or individuals " — it was right
that some other object of the Charity should be substituted
for the one expressed by the Testator which should be
regarded to approach near to the original intention ; and
such an object would very connnendably be the establish-
ment of Girls* Schools — but such schools ought not to be
convents in which to train girls with the avowed object to
portion them off in matrimony when duly prepared under
the inspection of a board of reverend and venerable gentle-
men.— [^n/e, pp. 19, 20, and 21.]

The granting of marriage portions to maidens was
anciently a common practice, and it is still common in
Roman Catholic countries. Many persons must have
observed that in France it is frequent for the Sovereign to
announce, in order to mark the favour with which he
regards his reception in a particular district, that a certain
number of marriage portions shall be distributed by a
mayor or some other pubhc official. In England the
practice is condemned, and there are the strongest reasons

Online LibraryGreat Britain Great Britain. London livery companies commissionCity of London Livery Companies' Commission: Report and Appendix, Volume 4 → online text (page 58 of 169)